Israeli forces fatally shoot two young Palestinians in occupied West Bank

Israeli soldiers deploy during a raid to look for wanted Palestinians in Nablus (AFP)

Shatha Hammad

Middle East Eye  /  April 13, 2022

Deaths come amid fifth day of Israeli raids in occupied West Bank.

Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinians on Wednesday evening in separate incidents, as Israeli troops ramp up operations across the occupied West Bank.

The first victim, a young teenage boy, was killed in Husan village near Bethlehem. He was identified as Qusai Hamamra, 14, and his body was withheld by Israeli forces after his death, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Northeast of Ramallah, Israeli forces fatally shot Omar Elayian, 20, in the chest, as Israeli forces raided the town of Silwad and other parts of the city, the ministry said.

Israeli forces arrested three young men, including former prisoners Khaldoun al-Barghouti and Moaz Hamed in Ramallah, hours after they launched an early morning raid on a house in Silwad, demanding that another young man surrender.

Eyewitnesses told Middle East Eye that the Israeli forces opened fire at the building in Silwad and shouted through loudspeakers asking the young Palestinian to turn himself in.

Meanwhile, dozens of people took to the streets to confront Israeli troops who fired live bullets at the crowds in Silwad.

The town’s ambulance crew told MEE that several people were injured by live ammunition and medical teams were unable to reach some of them until late Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Palestinian health ministry said human rights lawyer Muhammad Hassan Muhammad Assaf, 34, “died after being shot in the chest by the Israeli army during the aggression on the city of Nablus”.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported 31 people wounded around the Nablus site and a nearby village, including 10 hit by live rounds.

The violence in the West Bank follows four deadly attacks in Israel that left 14 people dead. 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has warned that Israel is now “on the offensive” and granted the security forces “full freedom of action”.

The Israeli army said Wednesday it also carried out “counterterrorist operations” in Jenin and other West Bank cities.

In the city of Tulkarem, Israeli border police said they shot and wounded “a suspect in terrorist activity” who fled special forces trying to arrest him.

Earlier this week, Ghada Ibrahim al-Aridi, a 47-year-old widowed Palestinian mother of six, was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier in Husan village, west of Bethlehem.

Footage documenting the moment she was shot showed her posing no threat to the soldiers. No weapon was found on her.

The tensions have come during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and ahead of the start of Passover Friday, an overlap that can heighten tensions around sacred sites in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Last year, Israel’s 11-day May offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip killed at least 256 Palestinians and destroyed or damaged 1,500 economic establishments.

Shatha Hammad is a Palestinian freelance journalist